Hamas vows to bring down Israel converting Gaza into armed fort

Hamas's rebels promise to turn Gaza into a huge armed camp devoted to digging Israel's grave, with tunnels, rocket attacks and a free flow of weapons and militants from Egypt.

"If Israel attacks the West Bank, we will fire rockets from here," thundered Hamas officer Abu Muad, bouncing his young son on his lap during a "victory parade" in the abandoned Jewish settlement of Kfar Darom in central Gaza.

Commanders from Hamas's Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades armed wing spoke triumphantly of their post-Israeli withdrawal war strategy from the Gaza Strip.

They sketched out a vision of tunnels into Israel, regular rocket attacks on the Jewish state; a free flow of weapons and militants from Egypt; and constant smuggling to the West Bank.

They spoke of their determination to turn the strip of Mediterranean coast, home to 1.3 million people, into an armed camp intent on the destruction of the Jewish state with a Palestinian Authority powerless to stop them.

The movement, which Israel estimates counts 1,000 armed militants across Gaza and the West Bank, has been responsible for the majority of anti-Israeli attacks during the last five years of Middle East violence.

In the past month, Hamas's top military commander, Mohammed Deif, has posted dispatches on the Internet, threatening to fight the Palestinian Authority if it tried to disarm his militants.

Hamas political leader Mahmud Zahar said Tuesday that the movement would intensify attacks against Israeli targets.

Hamas may also take up arms against Mahmud Abbas's government if the Palestinian Authority tries to stop them.

Abu Hamza, a refugee camp commander, said Hamas would infiltrate Israel from Gaza despite the security fence and high-tech surveillance.

Israel's deputy defence minister, Zeev Boim, warned Monday that Israel would treat any future rocket or mortar attack from Gaza as tantamount to an act of aggression of one state against another, the AFP reports.

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